Zhanat Zhakiyanov Arrives To Hero’s Welcome In Kazakhstan

Ricky Hatton’s protege Zhanat Zhakiyanov was met with a massive reception when he returned home to Kazakhstan recently.


Around 200 people braved temperatures as low as -20°c to see the 32-year-old arrive by train a week on from his WBA interim bantamweight title victory over Yonfrez Parejo.

The result made Zhakiyanov the fourth Kazakh to hold a world title after Gennady Golovkin, Beibut Shumenov and Vassiliy Jirov, and has turned him into something of a national hero.

Zhanat said:

“I could not believe it. I expected a few friends and family to greet me, but when the train doors opened there seemed to be people everywhere chanting ‘ZZ Champion! I am very proud to represent the people of my country. They showed me a lot of love when I won the European title last year and their appreciation spurred me on to win this WBA belt for them.”

He concluded:

“I want to win as many belts as possible and follow in the footsteps of my hero Vasilliy Jirov. He was like a king in Kazakhstan and if I can go onto achieve what he did, then I will be very happy. The next step for me is the full WBA championship and I am ready for either Jamie McDonnell or Juan Carlos Payano.”

(Image credit: Tengrinews.kz)

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